The Arab world is a man’s world. While it is true that some countries are becoming more progressive, on the whole, men are at the steering wheel – quite literally, in the case of Saudi Arabia.
But in spite of the clear inequality issues, how much freedom do men really have? Some enjoy power and influence, but even they are limited in a society that centres on religious tradition. Are these men actually wasting opportunities to break free of Islam or is something holding them back?
The following comes from a worker who has spent many years building relationships with men of the Arabian Gulf. As you read, please pause to remember Muslim men in your prayers…
Before the age of thirteen or fourteen, Muslim boys are heavily under the influence of their parents. They are given no room to question or challenge the Islamic traditions of their family.
Once they hit puberty, however, things change. From then until they get married, they have more freedom than they will ever have again, as society does not concern itself with their activities. It is a period of exploration.
- Pray for young, single men to use this time of freedom wisely. Pray that they would question everything and use social media as a tool for getting answers.
- Pray that those who are questioning Islam would be brave and bold, not wanting to be held down by tradition.
When a man gets married, things change again. The married Muslim man takes on a big responsibility. As the head of the family, it is up to him to maintain an outside image. If any member of his family is seen to be questioning the values and beliefs of his or her society, it can have a detrimental effect on their social standing. Jobs can be lost or impossible to find and children’s educational opportunities can be limited. In some circles, even befriending a westerner calls into question that person’s values. How are they being influenced? Are they being lured away from Islam?
- Pray that married men would think beyond the outward image of their family. Pray that they would rather desire to please God than man.
- Pray that they would make great use of the web to explore Christianity in a relatively safe way.
Many Muslims of the Arab world attend university, and a large number even study abroad. At university, they are taught to think critically, but sadly, this doesn’t often transfer to other aspects of life. A scientist, engineer or doctor can be as blind to the contradictions of Islam as an unskilled worker.
- Pray that those who have been taught to question and analyse would wake up and apply their skills to other areas of life.
- Pray that those being educated abroad would meet and befriend Christians who can point them in the direction of Jesus.
Thanks for your prayers!
Make a comment below or use social media to let us know what you’ve been praying and how God has been speaking to you. Use the hashtag #RethinkingRamadan.
Tomorrow, as we rediscover, we’ll be looking at the history of Islam for a second time.